via eli santana

Well I have accomplished something I NEVER thought I would have been able to do three years ago. Even one year ago if you told me I would quit sugar for three months straight I would probably had laughed at you. January the 23rd marked the end of my three months sans sugar (my new favourite way of saying I’m not eating the sweet stuff) and I have to say I am still going. Of course I toyed with the idea of going and buying some treats like ice cream…but I just kept putting it off, not really craving it. It seemed silly to just eat it because I can now. By the way, if you are thinking about going sugar free – then I found Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar ebook super essential – don’t go it alone!

I have had a few things with sugar in them since including…

  1. A soy hot chocolate. Really not interested in these now, it just tasted like sugar and I couldn’t taste any chocolate whatsoever. That’s what drinking raw cacao with hot water or coconut milk does to you!
  2. Green & Blacks 85% Organic Dark Chocolate. Ok this still hit the spot for me, it is sufficiently rich and has that beautiful bitter real chocolate taste. Pure happiness, although homemade raw chocolate tastes pretty much the same.
  3. 1/2 Baci chocolate. (There seems to be a chocolate theme here?) I spat this out. No longer on my list of favourite chocolates.
  4. Dried cranberries. Tasted pretty good, though very sweet obviously. Pretty sure they made me very nauseous the next morning so not in a rush to eat these again.
  5. Bananas & blueberries. Good. Still love fruit, keeping it limited though.
  6. Almond milk. Only has a little added sugar in it (the sugar free one is not always stocked locally) so nice to have this again as a treat in a latte or hot cacao drink.

That’s it. Honestly I haven’t had any ice cream (!!!) or even raw sugar in my coffee (I don’t even put stevia in that now) and feel so good that I am in no rush to go out on a sugar binge. It’s nice to know that if I go out for dinner or there is a special occasion that I can enjoy something – but I’ll just wait until that happens. I’m honestly a little apprehensive of the effect that eating a huge amount of sugar will have on my body too. The cranberries were enough of an indication of that.

Plus, on the other hand, I wasn’t eating much sugar in my diet previous to the three months, so with the exception of fruit and dark chocolate and the odd treat, it’s not something I want to introduce now! I am also not meant to just go and start eating a truckload of sugar as my gut flora still needs to be nourished. Whilst I feel much much better, I still notice if I have too much coffee or some dairy or wheat I feel my digestion start to go into overdrive.

So that is where I am at living essentially sans sugar still and feeling super! Funnily enough, there has been some big media attention about sugar this week. If you haven’t seen it yet, basically some scientists (namely Robert Lustig from the University of California, San Francisco, amongst others) are calling for governments worldwide to regulate foods and drinks with ‘added sugar’ as strictly as alcohol and tobacco. I also think Sarah Wilson’s thoughts on this are worth reading. This is not an entirely new topic, with Lustig’s lecture “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” having a huge following on youtube since 2009.

I have just watched this lecture today, and it is simply fantastic – I have learnt a lot about sugar and it’s effects on the body in the past six months, but this video really gets down to the nitty gritty but in a clear, understandable way. Whilst being over an hour long, I found it so fascinating and Lustig is an entertaining and engaging speaker; I highly recommend you watch it if you don’t believe sugar is harmful or if you have been considering going sugar free.

One thing I really found interesting was about LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) actually being made up of two different types of LDL –

  1. Pattern A LDL are large and buoyant (VLDL) and do not correlate with cardiovascular disease. They are light and buoyant and they float. Because they are so large they do not form plaque within the arteries.
  2. Pattern B LDL are small and dense. They don’t float and are responsible for starting plaque formation. It’s been shown by numerous investigators that it’s the small, dense LDL that is the bad guy.

When you measure LDL in a lipid profile, you measure them together. So when you get an LDL, you get both of them, the good one and the bad one. So how do you tell which LDL is the neutral one and which one is the bad one? You look at your triglyceride level in association with it. For pattern A LDL, typically your triglycerides will be low and HDL will be high. Pattern B will show high triglycerides and low HDL. So determining the good from the bad is done through testing your triglyceride levels. Your triglyceride:HDL ratio predicts CVD way better than LDL ever did.
Dietary fats raises your large buoyant Pattern A LDL (VLDL) and carbs raise small, dense Pattern B LDL.

Via Live Pure – includes entire transcript summary.
You can also see the slides here.

Now I’m not saying I will never eat sugar again. I’m sure I will. I believe in moderation with most foods (unless you are actually allergic). Fruit is something I will eat of course, as Lustig explains in the video, the combination of fibre and benefits of micro nutrients balances out the fructose content. I have not yet tried fruits aside from berries and bananas with my tummy so I’m thankful that I can support my body with the nutritional equivalent of 4kg of produce a day with Juice Plus+. For how I am feeling now, I foresee a fairly limited intake of sugar in the future for me.

Because life is sweet sans sugar!

(but there might be some ice cream in life too…)